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What is Mold Allergy?

Cat’s can have allergies to food, parasites, and even things in their environment.  Just like some humans, your cat could possibly be suffering from a mold allergy.  There is no cure for an allergy in your cat, but you can try and remove the source while treating your cat’s symptoms.  He may be sensitive to it when he comes into contact with it, inhales the spores, or ingests it.  Typical allergies in cats present as skin issues that may start out mild and develop into a chronic ongoing condition.  Your cat can go from a luscious full coat to half bald due to an allergy.  If you suspect your cat has an allergy to mold, there are very few ways to get a 100% diagnosis.

If your cat is allergic to something, it may present itself as a skin issue that has been going on for months.  If your cat is excessively itchy and seems to be experiencing some skin issues, contact your veterinarian for a consultation.

Symptoms of Mold Allergy in Cats

Symptoms may include but are not limited to:

  • Pruritus (extensive itching)
  • Papules
  • Lesions
  • Crusted pustules
  • Scaling
  • Alopecia
  • Hyperpigmentation 
  • Excoriation (excessive grooming and wearing away of the skin)
  • Lichenification (thickening of the skin)
  • Secondary skin infection 

Types

If your cat is sensitive to mold via ingestion, a reaction can occur relatively quickly or it can be delayed.  A contact allergy or inhalant type of allergy is typically a delayed type of sensitivity, but not always.  This means it usually requires weeks to months of repeated exposure to the allergen for the sensitization to develop.  Once there is sensitivity, clinical symptoms typically appear 24 to 48 hours after exposure.  There are many different species of molds; one may affect your cat but others may not.

Causes of Mold Allergy in Cats

A mold allergy affecting your cat can be considered a type of contact allergy, inhalant allergy, or ingestion allergy.  If your cat makes contact with the mold source, if he inhales it, or somehow ingests it, his body will react to it as if it is a threat.  This can lead to symptoms of an allergic reaction.  Environmental allergies can develop against any number of chemicals or natural items including plants. 

Diagnosis of Mold Allergy in Cats

An allergy in a cat does not present itself like a human allergy would with sneezing and coughing.  Instead it presents itself as a skin issue that may be identified as chronic feet licking or something more obvious like hair loss all over the body.  Pets with allergies have very typical, textbook symptoms; when diagnosing an allergy in your cat, it will be based primarily on clinical signs.  

Your veterinarian will begin by performing a full physical exam on your cat.  She will make note of all his symptoms and where it is primarily affecting him on his body.  She will also want to collect a verbal history from you.  She will want to know all details as to what your cat has ingested and had contact with recently.  

To rule out other possible causes of his symptoms, your veterinarian may want to take a skin scraping sample from your cat or perform a skin cytology.  These tests can rule out skin issues that may be affecting your cat and can produce similar symptoms.  For example, she will need to rule out parasitic infections, fungal skin infections, or other possible skin ailments.  

There is also an available blood serum test panel you can have completed on your cat in regards to environmental allergies.  Your veterinarian will collect a blood sample from your cat and send it off for testing.  The laboratory will run it against an environmental panel and results will show what your cat is allergic to and how severely.  For example, it can indicate if your cat is allergic to pollen, dust, human dander, and more.  The results are very reliable and can offer you insight to your cat’s condition.

Treatment of Mold Allergy in Cats

Avoidance of the allergen is ideal.  However, it is almost impossible to have your cat not be exposed to environmental allergens such as mold.  If this is the case, your veterinarian may consider administering glucocorticoids for a short period of time in order to get your cat’s symptoms under control.  She may also offer antihistamines to see if it can offer him some relief.  Also, if your veterinarian thinks your cat is a candidate, there are allergy medications you can offer him on a long term basis.

The skin will need to be treated depending on the lesions and symptoms your cat has developed.  If there is a secondary infection, your cat will need antibiotics.  Your veterinarian may also recommend a topical medication that may come in the form of a liquid, ointment, or spray for you to apply directly to the lesions themselves.  Your veterinarian may need to prescribe additional medications or therapies depending on the severity of your cat’s condition.

If you do pursue the allergy test panel, you can also pursue immunotherapy.  There are shots you can administer or liquid drops you can give to your cat sublingually to suppress his immune system against the specific allergens.  If he is allergic to mold, the drops or shots will train his body to no longer think mold is a threat.  Therefore he will no longer break out when exposed to it.  Immunotherapy can work very well but it may be something he needs for the rest of his life.

Recovery of Mold Allergy in Cats

The severity of the allergy will determine the recovery process.  The more severe the allergy is, the longer it will take to get your cat’s allergy symptoms under control.  You must also consider the range of skin where your cat has developed lesions.  If the area is small, it may be quicker to resolve and look better, versus a large region.  Also, if there is a secondary skin infection present the recovery process will take longer and need more aggressive treatment.  As long as you address the condition of the skin, his prognosis of recovery is good.  You cannot cure your cat’s allergy but you can manage it.

Mold Allergy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Grey
domestic (russian blue mix)
15.5 to 16 yrs approx.
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

How can mold in a cat be treated? I cannot give the cat a bath. He's not easy to deal with and he's not use to it. I am searching for alternative therapies, supplements, rather than anti-biotics.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
It really depends on how the mold is affecting the cat; it is mold in the environment causing allergies? Or a fungal infection of the skin? Or another cause? Antibiotics would not do anything for a fungal infection (depends on the antibiotic) but ideally if the environment is moldy then the best course of action is to remove the mold or remove the cat; you can try to bathe Grey with a waterless no rinse antifungal shampoo which he may tolerate better, otherwise you should speak with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Conut
Orange/white tabby, huge, long hair
14 yrs
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Lethargic, irritable, nervous
Lethargy

Medication Used

none for this

I believe my cat frequently gets spores in his hair (a very distinct pàttern), causing him to be hyper-sensitive to touch -- itchy, shivers -- while at the same time BEGGING to be combed, scratched, or bathed. I comb him 2-3 times/daily, & bathe occasionally

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
If you are suspecting that Conut is susceptible to a fungal infection or similar condition you should bathe him regularly two to three times per weeks (as indicated on shampoo) with a medicated shampoo; if the issue is severe which is sounds like it is you should have Conut examined by a Veterinarian to determine the cause and direct treatment, also regular cleaning of bedding is important too. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Lola
moggy
4 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Itching, leasion on neck and sneezing

I have been experiencing mould within my property and my cat has recently started scratching and excessively cleaning herself. I have checked her coat for fleas and I can't find anything, are you able to help?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
The ideal solution is to remove the cat from the moldy environment to see if there is an improvement in symptoms; there are some options like giving cetirizine 5mg daily or visiting your Veterinarian for something stronger (if they feel it necessary). Any treatment would just be suppressing symptoms instead of dealing with the problem itself; see how you go with cetirizine and try to solve the mold problem in the home. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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